A few years ago, when I was an avid supporter of the Buhari experiment, I believed it would become a largely successful experience after the Jonathan years. I was pleased with the fact that Buhari seemed to be a man with single minded determination. A man whose convictions to impact positively on the country had been sharpened by the many years on the sidelines as he tried to gain the topmost position in the realm.
I believed that his seclusion from socializing and revelling, would occasion him the opportunity for deep reflection as to how he would move this country forward. I believed that he was his own man.
Unfortunately, after he did claim power it became clear to me that all those years away from the public glare, while he hibernated in Daura, had not really transformed him into a deep thinker. I realized that Buhari was one of the few if not the only past Nigerian leader who had not really grown himself. I cannot remember Buhari delivering a paper anywhere on any subject,indicative of his experiences as Governor, Minister, Secretary to the Army, Head of a Powerful Parastatal or even farmer.
His world view was and is still very obscure. His insularity has become very glaring. The man is well over 70 years old. Therefore,it is unlikely that he can change. Does he even want to? When we look at other world leaders who have understood their short comings, we recognize in them the ability to surround themselves with men of deeper vision. Men whom it is clear to see have the interest of the nation at heart.
Quite frankly, even if those men were from his catchment area but were altruistic and enlightened in the ways of the modern world and its constant evolutionary tendencies,it would have been acceptable to me.
But we have seen our President surround himself with a Kitchen Cabinet that is more a mirror of his image than anything else. We have seen that they wield power exclusively without an inkling to the fact that this vast multicultural society cannot be governed like a fiefdom. This multi ethnic conglomeration should not be subjected to the feudal tendencies upon which their lives have been created.
Do you see Buhari doing away with such men? I don’t! Do you see him looking at a Kitchen Cabinet peopled with deep,wise, men and women of exemplary courage, who will have the guts to look him in the eye and say…no Sir, we cannot afford to toe this line. We cannot be seen to chart this course! Not likely. It appears that the President is content with the Rankaidede syndrome, which epitomises fawning and saying the things the President likes to hear.
Having said that, I need to point out that while his Kitchen Cabinet may appear to be servile, they are actually more determined than the President to hold on to power at any cost. So on the surface, he may believe he is in charge, but in reality, he just may be a pawn in their clutches. I have heard and read that some of those men who surround him today are associates from adolescence. Therefore, he is committed to them. So, there can be no expected change there.
It means therefore that these powerful men will have a say in who gets what as regards Ministerial offices. There is however a small constraint there as the constitution demands a national outlook. Therefore,they will be better disposed to those they can control,intimidate or both. Meaning we may not get the best available. But the ones who are amenable to control.
Witness how the entire security infrastructure has been corralled by one section of the country. Look no farther than the cabal. They are the initiators. The instigators. Look where we are in terms of insecurity. Yet it does not push them to look for the best. Like I said, altruism is not with them. I truly fear for the next four years. Perhaps, just perhaps the big man, will have a few moments of clear headed insight, to understand that he just might be on the brink of leaving the stage, without any meaningful legacies. Who Knows?
By: Mazino Obaro Ikime